Issues and legislation

Information on the current legislation and legislative news.

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A wolf in sheep’s clothing

Anti-tenure bills would kill collective bargaining, too

A four-bill package pending in the state House to overhaul tenure would actually reach far beyond what some say is the real problem – the time and money it takes to discharge a teacher with tenure.

The legislation – House Bills 4625, 4626, 4627, and 4628 – would, in fact, dismantle tenure AND collective bargaining of most subjects currently decided at the local bargaining table, including placement of employees, evaluation systems, discharge/discipline policies, and more. In an ironic turn, the legislation is backed by Republicans, who usually claim to oppose such intrusions on local control by state government.

Under this legislation, it would be possible for a school district to fire an unmarried, pregnant teacher. Or a tenured teacher who happens to be gay. Or an unpopular employee disliked by the principal. Or veteran teachers who can be replaced with cheaper, less experienced alternatives.

Lawmakers agree to deep education budget cuts

Lawmakers in Lansing have finalized budget cuts for K-12 schools, community colleges, and universities, agreeing to more than $1 billion in overall cuts that will lead to mass layoffs and reduced services for students.

House panel considers health insurance cap

A state House committee is considering legislation to cap the amount public employers, including school districts, pay for employee health care.

MEA Action Day draws thousands to Lansing

Responding to ongoing attacks on public education and the middle class, thousands of MEA members traveled to Lansing on Saturday for MEA Action Day.

MEA responds to legislative attacks

Next big Lansing protest is Saturday

Several dozen MEA members, leaders, and staff were at the Capitol today to talk with legislators about votes this week affecting public employee wages and health care.

On Wednesday, the Senate passed House Bill 4152 (to freeze step wage increases when a contract expires) and Senate Bill 7 (to require public employees to pay at least 20 percent of the cost of their health insurance) and the House Education Committee approved bills to dismantle tenure and collective bargaining laws. Those votes compelled the educators to visit Lansing -- to hold accountable the lawmakers who supported these measures, and to thank those who did not.

Senate runs over school employees with HB 4152 and SB 7

Fight back! Lawmakers need to hear from you!

The Senate today approved historic changes to collective bargaining and public employee compensation, stripping locally elected officials of the right to make important decisions.

Despite intensive lobbying by MEA leaders, staff, and others, the GOP-led Senate passed bills that impede local control and impact all public employees in some way.

The Michigan Senate voted to eliminate step wage increases between contracts and to require employees to pay at least 20 percent of the cost of health care, issues currently negotiated locally between employers and employees. The bill affecting step increases now goes to the governor for his signature; the health cost bill now goes to the House, where it could be amended.

Winners and losers

Seniors, poor, children pay for huge tax break for business

Gov. Rick Snyder's massive tax plan -- an unprecedented tax shift that hurts seniors, the poor, and children while giving a big break for businesses -- passed the Legislature today despite strong public opposition.

The plan taxes senior pensions, cuts subsidies for the working poor, and eliminates taxes for an estimated 95,000 businesses even as public schools brace for massive state funding cuts.

Act now: Help fight health care cost shift, privatization

Big votes expected Today -- we need your help!

Lawmakers are expected to vote today on separate proposals that strip local school districts of big decisions related to health care costs and privatization.

MEA staff and leaders are at the Capitol today to lobby against these bills -- and your legislative contacts are vital to our efforts to derail or modify these bills.

House considers major tenure overhaul

A four-bill package to dismantle teacher tenure would also eliminate significant collective bargaining rights for public employees.

GOP-led House OKs deep budget cuts for education

The state House today approved deep cuts for public education, slashing nearly $1 billion from K-12 schools statewide and 15 percent from community college and university budgets.

The House voted 57-53 for House Bill 4325 (see how your representative voted). Under the plan, K-12 districts will receive hundreds less in state aid per pupil for 2011-12 to pay for huge tax breaks for business.

While this vote is very disappointing, the budget battle isn't over. The House and Senate now must reconcile competing funding plans. We continue to work around the clock to try to stop the GOP-controlled Legislature from cutting vital education funding that helps students, but we need your help!

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